In your own words, post a substantive response to each assessment separately that are listed below:
Pick a company or industry. Choose a potential area of improvement for this company or industry. Benchmarking is a key component of quality improvement methods (Hutton, n.d.). It can benefit the organization very quickly because once data is gathered and analyzed process improvements can be implemented immediately rather than having to do improvements over time (Career Education Corporation [CEC], 2010). Customer service call centers in any industry can usually benefit from quality improvement, either to change inefficient processes or poor customer service or enhance processes that are working. Customer service call centers in healthcare usually focus on key performance indicators which creates a simple way to establish a scoring system that is simple and effective.
Discuss two benchmark companies or industries you would use for the previously listed improvement area”.
Other industries that can be used for benchmarking are airline and retail customer service call centers. These can be used to analyze best practices because even if they are offering different products, all call centers focus on very similar key performance indicators to gauge their success (Scafario, 2010). An example is Southwest Airlines who takes a proactive approach to anticipate customer dissatisfaction and leverages technology to alert customers about cancellations and gate changes. Enhance the customer’s booking and check-in procedures. An example in the retail industry is L.L. Bean who conducts most of its business over the phone and online. It is known for its superior customer service and it’s “no questions asked” return policy. L.L. Bean places a high emphasis on keeping customers loyal to their brand and trains its call center agents the art of engaging in conversation that may not be related to the sale.
1. Select a benchmark in a like company or industry
A similar industry to healthcare is the hotel or hospitality industry. The healthcare customer service call center focuses on key performance indicators such as call abandon rates, average talk time, after call work, and average handle time. These key performance indicators are also used in the hotel industry call centers (Scafario, 2010)
2. Select a benchmark company or industry that does not participate in the same type of business.
A different type of company that can be used for benchmarking is Zappos.com, an online shoe and clothing shop that views the phone experience as a branding action and encourages customers to call about almost anything. The call center uses cloud computing technology and social media networking. Call center employees are not required to keep their calls short but are given ample latitude to ensure a positive outcome (Scafario, 2010).
3. Why would you choose these companies (industries)?
These companies would be good benchmarking options because they all use a customer service call center to interact with their customers and sell their product or service and to enhance the customer experience.
4. Discuss pertinent benchmarking information (lessons learned) that makes them a good choice.
The overall lessons learned from these companies include information on what makes their call center efficient. Some of the best practice strategies include (Scafario, 2010):
1. Develop a customer service strategy
2. Use targeted, strategic training
3. Measure training effectiveness
4. Using representatives as idea collectors and keeping mail lists up to date
5. Implementing a balanced scorecard
6. Monitor social network sites
Using benchmarking to get best practices from other organizations can promote quality improvements by providing pertinent information on a specific practice. Companies can use this information to set goals to meet the benchmark data as well as get useful insight on how to accomplish those goals (Hutton, n.d.). For example, the general industry standard for percentage of calls answered within a predetermined period is generally 80% in 30 seconds. Most organizations encourage their representatives to have low call times, but in this case Zappos.com encourages long conversations with the longest documented call time of 4 hours (Scafario, 2010).